Home Energy Consumption Reduction is an Opportunity-Rich Environment
We will be adding much more information on this page in the near future.
The average American home was built before the 1973-1979 OPEC Oil Embargoes that drove up energy prices 600% in only 6 years. 1972 home construction was arguably the worst in American history, with respect to thoughtless unsustainable waste of energy.
In 1972, electric power companies deceptively said that nuclear energy was going to be so inexpensive that they encouraged the construction of “Gold Medallion” extremely-inefficient all-electric homes with terrible heating / cooling systems and appliances.
The nationwide Gold Medallion Home program extended the General Electric / Ronald Reagan 1950’s profiteering “ Live Better Electrically ” advertising campaign. Short-sighted electric company greed did a great disservice to our entire naïve nation with insufficient skeptical Critical Thinking Skills.
Never let anyone sell you the very-bad marketing lie that efficiency does not matter.
Since the mid 20th century, most new 21ST century homes STILL have terrible architecture that uselessly squanders over 80% of the energy that residents pay for.
There are literally a thousand things that can be done to greatly reduce home energy consumption. Some of them are TOTALLY FREE. Others cost less than $10. A few large retrofit ideas can cost over $10,000 dollars, and have a long payback period.
What is the “best” set of things that YOU should do? Each home, location, and budget may have a different list of “what to do first.” We will help you develop strategic-and-tactical plans for cost-effective energy efficiency improvements with a valuable return on investment of your available time and money
Harvest your “low hanging fruit” first. This Zero Energy Design® material will help you discover the many big energy-saving watermelons lying at your feet.
Think globally. Act locally. Think strategically. Act tactically. Your short-term local retrofit tactics should support your long-term strategy, which should in tern support our worldwide energy-and-environment sustainability strategy. Avoid unsustainability.
For example, suppose that you live in a cold climate and you use expensive (mostly imported) heating oil in the winter. For many reasons, this is an unpatriotic, expensive, unsustainable, STUPID thing to do. Suppose that the opportunity is presented to you to convert your oil-fired furnace to natural gas. It would cost thousands of dollars. From a short-term tactical view point natural gas might temporarily reduce your heating bill somewhat, reduce CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy imports, and improve our national balance of trade. Your capital investment would take years to recover.
IF your long-term strategic goal is ZERO EMISSIONS – Never Burn Anything, then concerting an oil-fired furnace to natural gas is a counterproductive expensive detour. If your strategy is to use clean, green, free-fuel, daily-renewable (solar or wind) energy in harmony with Nature, then once again, a change to natural gas is counterproductive, since it takes you farther from your strategic goal. You would not recognize this unless you had a rational long-term strategy to compare your short-term tactics to.
This material helps you develop an effective strategic plan and understand how the hours and early dollars that you invest in local tactics fit your global strategy. Don’t just hack away haphazardly at your energy problems. Plan your work. Work your plan.
An investment in onsite green-energy electricity generation (solar, wind, hydro, etc.) is one of the more-expensive ($10,000+) options that you may consider doing LAST. It can optionally provide more clean, green, abundant, free-fuel energy than you need for your home, and allow you to sell electricity back to your local power company’s grid for a PROFIT but you will need to improve the Energy Efficiency of your home to gain all the benefits.
Solar and wind electricity generation equipment cost has been falling rapidly for the last five years at over -17% per year. In the mid 2010’s, it should be cost effective for more than half of all American homes. The price will drop below $0.15 per kWh, when power plant electricity will be raising toward $0.30 per kWh and above. Green power generation is already cost effective in some areas where the resource is abundant, and the fuel for conventional local power generation is expensive. Utility-scale solar and wind generation is some sunny or windy areas is already below $0.04 per kWh, and declining with equipment price reductions.
You do NOT have to purchase the onsite electricity-generation equipment up front. There are now several innovative companies that will install-and-lease solar-or-wind equipment on your home, at a monthly cost that is LESS than the rising cost of electricity from your local power company. The cost per kWh will not increase when your utility company raises their rates and adds fuel surcharges again and again. Many systems now come with 25-year equipment warranties.
See state-specific available local assistance: D.S.I.R.E. is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995 and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the N.C. Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
New “ Smart Grid ” technology will increase support for this concept in the 2010’s. AFTER doing the easy inexpensive energy saving things first, you may then choose to retrofit onsite electricity generation in the future. Onsite electricity generation equipment costs will continue to fall rapidly with improved future green-energy production volume “economies of scale”, and incentive programs. The more people do it, the lower the equipment cost, and the more people will do it. It is a cascading snowball effect that is already rolling along at a great price-reduction pace.
Some of the products and services that we will discuss will be a good return on investment of time-and-money for you. We do NOT sell any of these products, or accept advertising from product vendors, so we can remain unbiased and give you impartial recommendations, based on scientific evidence and engineering expertise (NOT profit on the sale of particular products). We do not recommend specific vendors. We cannot give you precise price quotes in your local area for the things that we suggest, but we can give you ball-park estimates to help guide your own cost / benefit analysis.
Even renters should consider doing the FREE things that have an immediate return on the time that is required. Home owners have a much larger set of options to consider.
Your energy-retrofit savings last as long as you live in the home, and then they pass on to those who live in the improved home next, which increases the resale value of your home investment.
The “Recovery Through Retrofit” initiative is providing strong incentives for people to do the things that we explain in detail. It has the potential to be a genuine “Win / Win” situation for our entire recession nation. September 2009 initial report: Recovery Through Retrofit Final Report and a November 2010 rollout announcement video(to the right of this page) and a Press Release.
One plan offered by the 2010 Recovery Though Retrofit program will be for communities to optionally finance major energy retrofits with public funds that you may choose to pay back with increased property taxes, which will stay with the house when it is sold to others. With this type of energy retrofit plan, your total annual utility bills plus property taxes should be reduced, and the entire nation will benefit greatly.
There are about 130 million homes in America. Most U.S. residents spend $1500-to-$3,000 per year on energy bills. A conservative estimate is that we can reduce those bills by 40% with a basic investment of time and minimal money. State, local and federal incentive programs can substantially lower your energy retrofit costs, and benefit our local communities, and entire nation.
A reduction in energy consumption means reduced need for expensive, dirty, new power plants, and the associated rapidly-escalating fuel costs. It can reduce the need for importing foreign energy (heating oil, etc.), and reduce the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world, which has a huge negative impact on our growing debt and shocking balance of trade.
President Carter created the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Weatherization Assistance Program for Low Income Families. Since 1978, WAP has improved the energy efficiency of 6 million low-income homes by an average of 31%. This has been the world’s most successful energy consumption reduction program. It is far better than paying subsidies to low-income families to help them with high ongoing utility bills. WAP has averaged retrofitting 200,000 American homes per year for three decades. That is a small dent in what is necessary with our current inventory of 130 million terrible-architecture American homes.
When Barak Obama became president, he wanted to increase WAP five fold to a million homes per year. Suppose a crew of two-to-three people can retrofit two-to-three homes per month. A WAP program retrofitting a million homes per year would provide local, secure, green jobs for about 83,000 people.
USA has an immediate need to retrofit our entire inventory of very-bad-architecture homes. Retrofitting a million American homes per year would take 130 years to do what is long overdue. We really need to retrofit a million homes per MONTH. It would still take over a decade to improve our inventory of grossly-inefficient energy-wasting homes.
A million homes per month, employing two-to-three workers doing two-to-three homes per month would provide jobs for roughly a million of today’s unemployed construction workers, who would then be PAYING TAXES instead of receiving unemployment benefits from taxpayers. The overall long-term economic-and-environmental benefits would be greater than the most-successful public-works program in any country, ever.
“Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity, and are able to turn both to their advantage.” – Machiavelli
Since every dollar spend on energy retrofits pays back several dollars in long-term benefits, there is no strategic reason not to invest heavily in creating enough jobs so that the construction industry unemployment rate should be ZERO. There is more than enough work to keep everyone who wants a new green job busy for decades to come.
Energy efficiency improvements to millions of homes in the near future will provide much-needed enduring green jobs for your friends and neighbors (which will benefit your local community, and reduce the need to pay expensive unemployment benefits). In 2010, construction industry unemployment was about 27%. Our nation desperately needs exactly the kind of jobs that energy retrofits will provide.
Most of the new energy-efficiency retrofit installation jobs MUST be local, and cannot be outsourced to other countries, which benefits our entire national economy. Demand for energy efficiency will only increase in the future. Most green jobs often pay better than similar construction-industry jobs. They require special training, which makes employees more valuable to the community. Green jobs are an important foundation for our sustainable future of Abundant Energy In Harmony With Nature®. We are NOT calling for energy austerity - Abundant Free Energy Saving is lower-cost luxury living.
You may even want to become an energy retrofit auditor, consultant, product installer, or green-product developer / manufacturer. You may start part time by retrofitting your own home, helping a few friends with their homes, and then grow your new green energy-retrofit business into a worthwhile career that benefits all of us. We cannot provide you with all of the detailed information required to become certified or licensed in your own local community, but our material documents detailed information about the underlying energy principles that are involved everywhere.
It is MUCH easier and less-expensive to get started retrofitting houses, than designing new cars. You need only minimal diagnostic equipment to get started. We will show you the basics, and also the very-best equipment used by energy auditors and retrofit pros.
Some of the underlying solutions that we discuss were documented by the U.S. Department of Energy in 1978, and demonstrated in our first Zero Energy Design® abundant-energy luxury-living home in 1979. New technology and recent price reductions in energy-saving products have made these ideas even better for everyone.
We sincerely wish all of our readers an Abundant New Life In Harmony With Nature
Lifelong Learning In An Ever-Expanding Universe Of Endless Possibilities TM
We invite constructive suggestions and collaboration with our new friends
E-Mail To: ZEDmaster@ZeroEnergyDesign.com